Refi bust not the end of the world says top originator

by Ryan Smith12 Sep 2013

The refi boom appears to be over for now, as rising interest rates cause refinance starts to fizzle. But it’s not the end of the world, according to one of the nation’s top originators – as long as you’re willing to work hard.

Joe Caltabiano, senior vice president of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, has closed more than $100 million in loans every year since 2004. Last year, he funded more than $300 million in loans, placing him among the top 10 originators in the nation, and in the Number 1 spot in Illinois for the second year in a row. Caltabiano says that while the refi slowdown presents challenges, there are also opportunities.

“We’ve had a lot of low hanging fruit with refinances, where everyone could save money,” he said.“Now it’s kind of a matter of putting your sales hat back on and going out and building relationships. And it’s going to be hard for some people. Some people are going to see their business cut by 50 percent.”

But for those who are willing to flip the switch from refi back to new home loans, Caltabiano said, business could boom.

“The cream will rise the top, and it’s going to be good for the best of the best -- but you’re going to have to work hard,” he said. “It’s going to be tough, especially combined with new regulatory pressures and the looming demise of Fannie and Freddie – but those are things we can’t control. I try to focus on things I can control – going out and building relationships and getting new business.”